KENYA – In a crippling cyber-attack that has thrown the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) into disarray, consumers are now at risk of being exposed to harmful products due to the agency’s inability to conduct necessary inspections and testing.

The hackers infiltrated KEBS’ network three weeks ago, disrupting all operations, including payment systems, human resources, and the internal mail system. This breach has reignited concerns about Kenya’s public digital infrastructure and its vulnerability to cybercrime.

The devastating hacking incident has severely impacted crucial services, leaving KEBS unable to fulfill its mandate of ensuring the safety and quality of goods in the market.

Among the affected systems are the KEBS Information Management System (KIMS), Permits issuance, Webstore, and Catalog used for standard purchases, and the Laboratory Information Management System (Lims), essential for managing samples and data efficiently.

Moreover, sample test results, Metlims Customer portal, and Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVOC) services have all ground to a halt, further exacerbating the disruption of essential operations.

While the authorities have remained relatively silent about the extent of the financial losses incurred, sources within KEBS reveal that the government agency has suffered losses amounting to millions of shillings since the hacking occurred, reports People Daily.

This staggering financial blow raises questions about the readiness and resilience of Kenya’s public institutions to combat cyber threats.

With KEBS unable to inspect and test goods effectively, consumers now face heightened risks of encountering unsafe and potentially harmful products in the market.

The agency’s inability to fulfill its critical role as a regulatory body may leave Kenyan citizens exposed to substandard and dangerous goods, raising serious concerns about public safety.

Despite the public notice issued two weeks ago, assuring stakeholders and the public of efforts to restore the system, KEBS continues to grapple with the aftermath of the cyber-attack.

The agency’s technical team is working around the clock to rectify the problem, but the road to recovery remains uncertain.

Zeyana Abdullah, KEBS’ official in charge of communications, shared that the agency is doing its utmost to address the challenges. However, the timeline for full recovery remains uncertain, leaving many industries and consumers in limbo.

Calls for enhanced cyber security measures

The KEBS hacking has shone a spotlight on the urgent need for strengthening Kenya’s public digital infrastructure against cyber threats.

As the nation continues its push towards digitalization and e-governance, safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of vital agencies becomes paramount.

The incident serves as a wake-up call for the government and relevant authorities to invest in robust cyber security measures to protect critical systems and safeguard consumers’ well-being.

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